Values aren’t just words we believe in—they’re standards we live by as an organization. They guide our business, they make us strive to be better and they give us a cultural north star.
In the last year, we at Sprout Social have grown exponentially as a workforce—we substantially grew our team and acquired Simply Measured, an industry leader in social analytics. It’s been pretty rapid change.
Knowing how crucial it is for employees to recognize themselves in our company’s values, and understanding how much we’ve grown since our values were developed in 2010, the timing was right to give our values a refresh.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at how the team tackled the project.
How It Started
From the outset, we knew the process of refreshing our values needed to be driven by the team at large. To incorporate a diverse set of perspectives, everyone needs to have a voice.
We started the process by sending an open invitation to the entire team to participate, and we were blown away by the response. From employees who joined a few months ago to people who had been with Sprout since the beginning, our volunteers included individual contributors, managers and leaders from across the organization.
To kick off our brainstorming, we identified a working group of about 15 members who led smaller, department-based focus groups with all of the participants from their teams. It was important to us that this process didn’t begin with our executive team making calls from the top down—instead, our employees led the charge by collaborating on ideals they find to be the most vital to what makes Sprout’s culture successful.
With hundreds of ideas jotted down on post-its, there was a palpable excitement about everyone coming together to share their vision for the next evolution of Sprout’s values.
Open Communication & Creating Progress
Once we whittled down our ideas, we really started to get to the heart of what we stand for as an organization. Building off the momentum of the first phase, the working group took our learnings from the focus groups and continued the ideation process. We focused on identifying themes and discussing the future these values would lead Sprout toward.
We weren’t solely focused on what everyone loves about our company; instead, we used this process to spark a broader conversation and constructively tackle the things we can do better. In this case, we discussed values that represented both our existing culture and our aspirations.
The Small Council
Finally, our values working group presented the themes we’d developed to our executive team, the Small Council. And yes, they borrowed their name from “Game of Thrones.”
Small Council includes our four founders as well as leaders who have joined Sprout more recently, and needless to say, they’re incredibly invested in our culture and team. After hearing from our values working group, they eagerly jumped into discussing and refining the themes—ultimately landing on seven core values.
Without further ado, we’re excited to share our refreshed set of Sprout Social values.
At Sprout, we care genuinely and deeply about our customers, our people, our communities and our families. We are committed to helping each of them grow and thrive. We can’t serve one of these groups well without serving them all well. Our culture and success rely on that balance.
In order for Sprout to be a truly great place to work and be a customer, we must be accountable as individuals and as an organization. We have commitments to each other, our teams, our families and our customers. We celebrate our wins and learn from our failures with equal appreciation.
Champion Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Sprout’s greatness comes from diverse, talented people with varied perspectives who can be their whole selves in an equitable and inclusive environment. A diverse team cannot thrive without inclusion. We strive to build an organization that sets a positive example for our communities and where our people and customers feel entirely supported.
Promote Open, Authentic Communication
Our business was built on the idea that open communication moves the world forward. This is true for our society and our company. By communicating clearly and directly with each other, listening with empathy, embracing a learning mindset and being authentic, we accomplish remarkable things.
Complexity is a tax on everything we do. We strive to make our products, our processes, our policies and our operations as free from complexity as possible, allowing us the agility to grow, adapt and thrive. In our products, complexity is a tax on our customers, and we seek elegant solutions that enhance their work.
Solve Hard Problems
Our customers choose Sprout because of the craftsmanship and care we put into our work, our products and our relationship with them. Our employees choose Sprout because they want to do their best work and be the best at what they do. We solve hard problems in thoughtful, elegant ways to provide remarkable experiences for our customers and team.
Our industry was created from a transformative shift in the way people communicate. Growth and innovation require change by definition. We are a company that sees thoughtful change as an opportunity rather than a burden. We see standing still as a disservice and we are always looking for ways to better serve our customers, improve our processes and help our team grow.
As our CEO, Justyn Howard, puts it: “We may not be 100% perfect against these values every day. And that’s okay. Some of these are things we aspire to do better, some are things we know we have room to improve. While authentic in that we live these values today, we can always do better, and we should be striving to always do better in living in service of these values.”
In a lot of ways, that process itself represents where we landed—solving hard problems, always opening up communication, championing diverse input and simply caring.
This process wasn’t easy, but it was worth the time and the commitment of our people to get it right. Sprout’s story may see several iterations of these standards in the years to come, but as we continue to grow, so will our commitment.